Exactly. This is the true triumph of the wingnuts. After all, statistically most people are of at least average intelligence and reasonably sane. How to co-opt them into buying this nonsense? Make it a consumer choice. I hadn't been able to put my finger on it so well, but that is really my primary misgiving about these damned "megachurches" -- spirituality is not a fashion statement, nor is it a team sport. Really, it is (or should be) the ultimate game of solitaire, in a way. Sure, you probably want someone with a solid background in spiritual studies to bounce ideas off of, seek a little guidance here and there, etc. And fellow congregants can be beneficial for the same thing -- or at least provide examples of what works and what doesn't.
But for the most part, while you may have a support system for your earthly concerns and all, the point of real spirituality is that you're supposed to learn and think, and figure most of this out for yourself. The politically- (and financially-) motivated megachurch preacher is not supposed to be doing all the sorting and winnowing for you. That is not learning; that's regurgitating. Multiplied by 20,000 drones, that is not a mass learning experience, that's an event, that's a mob getting on the same page, which is exactly how the control freaks that run the megachurches -- and more importantly, the politicians they're in cahoots with -- want it. You think Tom DeLay's dick doesn't get harder than Chinese arithmetic when he sees 20,000 faithful voters swaying unthinkingly to whatever comes out of the pulpit jockey's headset mike?
So while we (and by "we", I mean me, but also many commentators who regularly take potshots at the wingnuts) spread prodigious lead at the looniest, we really have to keep a careful eye on the seemingly normal. These Stepford exurbanites are where the money is, hence it's where the real political activism takes hold. These are the people who are keeping the cracker barrel in business. And they think through their political issues about as carefully as they've thought out their spiritual path. (Which is to say, if you need Tom DeLay or any of his Brylcreem acolytes to explain or affirm anything to you, you simply haven't done enough reading and critical thinking, period.)
So keeping that particular demographic in mind, let us turn to another part of Craig's comment, one which I had been thinking about as well:
Since this little PR stunt, I have taken a bit of scarce spare time, and checked out a few righty blogs to see what their take on this is. As expected, it is somewhere between denial and delusion. Some have taken pains to smear the Today show, who had the temerity to discuss the prepping and rehearsing of this sham, because Today show cupcake Michelle Kosinski got caught sitting in a canoe in a flooded New Jersey town as two men sloshed past her, in what was clearly ankle-deep water. This sort of reasoning, if applied consistently to the apparent rigors of conservative thought and practice, provides some illumination as to why we are where we are right now.
This just in, Righty McRighterton -- even your hated Olbermann showed the Kosinski clip and had a good laugh. Doesn't matter; she's fucking hot, and her career will just keep chugging forward until she marries up into the incestuous upper echelon, where Richard Cohen was banging Kati Marton while she was married to Peter Jennings, but before he (Cohen) hitched up with newsmilf Meredith Vieira. And Marton is now married to uber-diplomat Richard Holbroooke. Got all that? Glad you didn't become a "legitimate" journamalist?
Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, Dear Leader's fumbling, stumbling, mumbling PR stunt with his favorite props. The righties have decided to take the tack of calling into question the very legitimacy of the question of whether they were prepped, whether the event was scripted. Well, Alison Barber, the Pentagon official seen on the infamous pre-sham satellite feed, was the one using the word "scripted". And any honest observer of the actual event cannot but come away with the clear impression that the dialogue was stilted, the recitation of figures rote and rehearsed, and that it was due to more than just the usual satellite delay.
And it is not unnoticed that the only non-white soldier was the token Iraqi. Do I have to go digging through statistical abstracts to find actual numbers that demonstrate the racial mix of the US military, the Army in particular, or can we take it as a given that this was not an honest cross-section of our troops?
And there's a reason for this, just as there's a reason this thing was trotted out in front of us in the first place. As Craig pointed out, there was no reason for this dog-and-pony show. If Bush truly wanted an honest assessment of the troops on the ground, he could have commissioned a survey. He could have had generals anonymously poll troops. He could even have done some legwork and research himself, compiling facts and anecdotes, gathering and analyzing data, and presenting it to us in a clear, unambiguous manner.
Bwaaaahahahahaha! Had you going there for a moment, didn't I? For Bush, learning interferes with nappy time and bikey time, talkin' with Jeebus and deluding himself into thinking that there aren't at least 10,000 people in the legal community infinitely more qualified than the Church Lady for that fucking SCOTUS seat.
So clearly the rationale for this obviously scripted and rehearsed event was to put a PR face on Bush's folly. There is simply no way an honest person could see that tape and arrive at another conclusion. Bush's complete lack of preparedness and knowledge showed, and the leading nature of the questions, as well as the disastrous pacing of the answer made it obvious to anyone with half a clue what was going on.
The problem is, it will still work as planned on the people it was designed to work on. It wasn't meant for you or me in the first place; it was meant to bolster the base.
As such, they can probably tell themselves "Mission Accomplished", even though in all practicality, that staged bullshit -- just like all of Bush's cherry-picked crowds and carefully staged photo-ops -- didn't accomplish a single goddamn thing to help those troops, or this country.
And for that, they can all go straight to hell.